Lisa’s Diary: wounds and wonky feet

By Lisa Paterson MRCVS

Keeping up to date with new developments in veterinary care is an essential part of our job and the Simply Horses staff often attend Continuing Professional Development events. In November I was invited to a BEVA event at Matfen Hall, where Patrick Pollock and Jim Ferrie gave talks on remedial shoeing and wound management in horses. Patrick is a vet based at Glasgow university and specialises in equine surgery, and Jim is one of Scotland’s best known farriers, so together they had a lot of good cases to talk about.

Patrick had brought along summaries of some of his most challenging and technical patients, including one poor horse with a stake stuck in its head. He discussed cases that hadn’t responded to traditional treatment and why they wouldn’t, because of complications with infection and foreign bodies. He also talked about the use of medicinal honeys.
Jim then stepped up to talk about his shoeing work and his use of spiral shoes and spiral trimming, which he finds are making a great improvement with horses that have a foot imbalance. Some horses, as they move forward, have an outward rotation between the knee and the canon bone and will place the hoof outside the middle of the leg to land flat. This causes excess load on the inside of the leg and hoof.

To address this problem, especially in a young horse in which the growth plates have not yet closed, Jim trims the hoof on a spiral which would see the outside lowered to allow normal footfall. In cases where the horse is older and already lame, this spiral can be made with a shoe. Jim also showed us photos of a horse that had been diagnosed and treated for a keratoma, which is a kind of benign tumour that grows through the horse’s foot.
Matfen Hall provided a delicious evening meal and it was good to chat with fellow equine vets from around the North East. The evening continued with Merial, a veterinary drugs company, talking about changes to their proteq flu/ tet vaccination. There is now a more advanced form of vaccine that protects against the Clade 2 strain of equine flu, which we are already using at Simply Horses.
Patrick then resumed his talk about wounds and there were some photo examples of equine limbs with wounds to evaluate. Answers were submitted and a prize was given for the best answer. The competition was fierce as the prize was a 10-year-old Scottish whiskey! I really enjoyed the evening and it has given me a lot of food for thought and some new information when it comes to dealing with complicated cases.

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